Riding the Waves of Democracy Innovation

Civic Technology Community Group,

Hello. I would like to share with the group a hyperlink to a document which indicates at least some of the main waves of democracy innovations, when they emerged, what inspired them, and who was involved.

Alphabetically, the indicated waves are: civic journalism / public journalism / citizen journalism, deliberative forums, dialogue and problem-solving to strengthen race relations and racial justice, digital data-gathering and feedback on public problems and services, digital deliberation, digital direct democracy, digital ideation and crowdfunding, digital tools for grassroots and relational organizing, digital tools for voter information and education, election reform ideas, food-centered community-building initiatives, hyperlocal online networks, impact volunteering, mini-publics, participatory budgeting, participatory planning, and truth and reconciliation processes.


Riding the Waves of Democracy Innovation<https://www.nationalcivicleague.org/riding-the-waves-of-democracy-innovation/>
Matt Leighninger

The terms "democracy" and "citizenship" arenít usually associated with innovation. People tend to think of them as historic ideas that donít change over time. In fact, democracy and citizenship are dynamic: many innovations have emerged in the last thirty years, all over the world, at all levels of governance.

These adaptations and reforms are spurred by various crises and pressures, they are aimed at many different public problems, and they are intended to uphold many different public values, from racial justice to social cohesion to economic vitality to public health. Most of these innovations embody a broader definition of "democracy" - it is not just about voting, but about other ways of encouraging citizens to help make public decisions and solve problems. Most of them also take a broader view of "citizenship" - it includes everyone, not just people who are citizens in a narrow legal sense.

For the most part, these innovations have not been connected. Though there are some common influences, and some of the same basic practices have been shown to work in different contexts, these are very decentralized developments. Scientific innovations often occur because researchers compare notes, see each other at conferences, and critique each other's papers and patents. Unfortunately, many of todayís democracy innovators think they are alone.

This essay is too short to give you more than a brief glimpse at the pressures, people, and ideas shaping the future of citizenship and democracy. For more, consult resources such as Participedia, DemocracySpot, the Civic Tech Field Guide, Thirty Years of Democratic Innovations in Latin America, Catching the Deliberative Wave, Democratic Innovations, Imagining Better Futures for American Democracy, or the book that Tina Nabatchi and I wrote, Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy. Soon you'll be able to get a bird's-eye view of the American part of this landscape with the release of the Center for Democracy Innovation's Healthy Democracy map at the National Conference on Citizenship. We'll present a bird's-eye view of the American part of this landscape Ė both the new innovations and the more time-honored varieties of democracy-strengthening work. The map contains thousands of organizations categorized by the different kinds of democratic work they do, all of which aim to enhance the quality of civic life in America.


Best regards,
Adam Sobieski

Received on Sunday, 29 October 2023 04:24:44 UTC